Shondiin Silversmith

Shondiin Silversmith

Shondiin Silversmith is an award-winning Native journalist based on the Navajo Nation. Silversmith has covered Indigenous communities for more than 10 years, and covers Arizona's 22 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations, as well as national and international Indigenous issues.

Indigenous people in Arizona celebrate 75 years of voting rights

By: - July 15, 2023

Arizona Tribal leaders, advocates, community members and organizations came together Friday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Indigenous people in Arizona earning the right to vote. “The power of the Native vote is 75 years strong,” said Maria Dadgar, executive director of the Inter-Tribal Council, during a celebration honoring the anniversary of Native voting rights […]

Behavioral health and wellness programs launched for BIE tribal schools

By: - July 7, 2023

Tribal schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education will receive additional funding to increase access to behavioral health and wellness support programs.  “The Interior Department is committed to creating positive, safe and culturally-relevant learning environments,” Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland said in the funding announcement on June 29.  The programs will provide virtual counseling […]

VP Kamala Harris visits the Gila River Indian Community on her first trip to Indian Country

By: - July 6, 2023

Gila River Indian Community Elder Bernice Lyons was one of many community elders who showed up at the Gila River Crossing Community School on Thursday by 9 a.m., excited to hear Vice President Kamala Harris speak during her first visit to Indian Country.  Lyons, 72, never imagined seeing such a powerful public figure visit her […]

‘We made a huge difference’: Navajo police scour the Valley for homeless victims

By: - July 6, 2023

Driving a white SUV down Loop 202, Derek Benally is ready to get to work.  He’s part of a team of Navajo Nation police officers who have been in the Phoenix area, searching for Indigenous people impacted by the closure of the fraudulent rehabilitation facilities. A scheme that targeted Indigenous people because of a loophole […]

Supreme Court denies Navajo Nation water rights claim

By: - June 22, 2023

The Navajo Nation continues its fight for water after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the United States has no treaty obligation to identify and account for the Navajo Nation’s water rights in the Colorado River. The Supreme Court indicated that the 1868 treaty between the Navajo Nation and the federal government contained no […]

Interior Department works on strategies to protect the Colorado River

By: - June 19, 2023

The guidelines and strategies set in place to protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River, which supplies more than one-third of Phoenix’s water, are set to expire at the end of 2026.  This has prompted the Department of the Interior to initiate the formal process on Thursday, where the Bureau of Reclamation will […]

Supreme Court upholds Indian Child Welfare Act, a big win for Indian Country

By: - June 15, 2023

Tribal Nations across the country are breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a major decision Thursday that upholds tribal sovereignty and protects Indigenous children.  In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas federal court’s decision that the Indian Child Welfare Act was unconstitutional.  Justice Amy Coney […]

Federal government to preserve history of Indian boarding schools

By: - June 12, 2023

The Department of Interior is partnering with the National Endowment for the Humanities to preserve the oral history and records collected as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. The NEH committed $4 million to support the digitization of records from 408 federal Indian boarding schools and create a permanent oral history collection documenting […]

White House launches national plan to address gender-based violence in the U.S.

By: - June 7, 2023

For the first time in history, the White House has launched a national plan to address gender-based violence on a federal level, introducing seven strategic action plans to help communities across the United States. “As long as there are women in this country and around the world who live in fear of violence, there’s more […]

AZ bears the brunt of voluntary Colorado River cuts, but water usage won’t be limited

By: - May 26, 2023

Arizona’s water officials stand behind the proposal submitted by the Lower Colorado River Basin States, which prioritizes voluntary water conservation efforts from the state and tribal Nations, and say that Arizonans won’t need to use less water, even as the state will bear the brunt of cutting 3 million acre-feet. Through the Lower Basin Plan, […]

Gila River Indian Community breaks ground on pipeline project to address Colorado River drought

By: - May 23, 2023

Only a month after finalizing funding agreements, the Gila River Indian Community broke ground on its new Reclaimed Water Pipeline Project to help the community with water resources and conserve more water in Lake Mead. The 19.4-mile pipeline was developed in record time, said Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, and the community […]

Arizona, California and Nevada announce a plan to cut Colorado River usage for 3 years

By: - May 22, 2023

Arizona, California and Nevada have agreed on a plan to conserve 3 million acre-feet from the Colorado River over the next three years. “The Lower Basin Plan is the product of months of tireless work by our water managers to develop an agreement that stabilizes the Colorado River system through 2026,” Gov. Katie Hobbs said […]